According to reports, the number of extremely poor people in Nigeria increases by 6 people every minute making Nigeria the world’s capital of poverty with an estimate of 87 million extremely poor Nigerians. Thus, one won’t be wrong to say that the majority of Nigerians live in Penury.
What is Penury?
Penury can be defined as the state of being extremely poor, but then what does it mean to be poor. Poverty can be looked at from a many different dimension; one can be mentally poor, spiritually poor, materially poor and many others but one thing common to them all is the ‘lack of something’. However, in this article we shall be focusing on the material poverty.
According to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, Poverty is a
multidimensional issue that concerns a person’s level of health access and coverage, available educational opportunities and quality. A poor person also can be defined as one who lacks the basic needs which are food (including water), shelter and clothing. According to World Bank, to live in penury means to live on less than $1.90 (#690) daily.
A priest once said that to be poor means to be unable to make choices. For example if a man chooses to drink garri when he has other food choices then he cannot be said to be poor but when a man would prefer to eat fried rice but all he has is garri then he is poor.
As humans we desire freedom and pleasure; freedom to make choices and to live pleasurable lives but sadly this is what the people living in penury lack. They lack choices and live every day in pain and uncertainties and as a result of the human nature to desire pleasure and stability,
some of them find themselves doing things such as begging on the streets, robbing, pick
pocketing and many more of such activities.
There are many things which lead to poverty, some are caused by the government, some by the society, some by parents and some by the individual themselves.
One of the many reasons for the increase in the poverty rate in Nigeria is its fast growing population, and unfortunately the population is growing faster than the economy is. More children are being born daily increasing the population almost every minute but does the income
of their parents increase? Some of the parents of these children as a matter of fact cannot even provide for themselves the basic human needs but still go ahead to reproduce many children who end up on the streets as beggars, thieves, armed robbers, thugs etc.
Another reason for the increase in the poverty rate is the dependence on oil as the sole means of revenue for the country.
Nigeria is a nation blessed with many natural resources, good farm lands, good crops, minimal natural disasters and many more but sadly we solely depend on oil and to even worsen the case we export the crude oil and then import it refined at a higher rate meaning we gain almost no
profit from our major source of income but instead we run at a loss.
Also, the high rate of unemployment in the country, creates a fertile land for poverty to bloom.
A valid percent of the Nigerian youths are unemployed people; some with very innovative ideas but no capital to start.
Not to even talk about the number of uneducated children in the country. We have children on the streets begging for food when they are supposed to be in a school learning ways to better their lives and the lives of their families. Most of the children who are born to poor parents and
are not exposed to education lack the necessary skills for development which most times lead to detrimental behaviors. At last count about 8.6 million children were uneducated and a nation with such a high level illiteracy simply attracts more poverty and downfall to itself.
Poverty is crueler than what we can imagine.
An obvious increase in the crime rate in the country cannot be denied. Almost every day lives are lost to ritualist, kidnappers, terrorists and many more criminals for meagre income. Besides greed another major cause of the increase in crime rate is the increase in the poverty rate.
Although, poverty doesn’t directly lead to any of these crimes, it creates a state of misery and frustration that pushes people to indulge in such activities.
Children who are born for example in the ghetto regions where they find it hard to find their daily bread not to even talk about going to school at the sound of money would most likely be willing to do anything for it.
Poverty weighs down the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). It brings down the purchasing power of the people because when the goods are produced and supplied and the people are too poor to afford them, the goods go to waste leading the producing company to bankruptcy and increasing
the poverty rate. Also, development in the country would move very slowly if there would even be any at all because, the poor people would have no savings since their daily income is for their daily bread which isn’t even enough and if there are no savings there can be no investments and
thus there would no taxes for the government to collect to put infrastructures in place and develop the country.
The poor people who have no places to lay at night but on the streets and wherever just like every human need to use the toilet occasionally and when they need to, where do they go? To the bushes, the rivers, e.t.c and this pollutes the air, the seas and the lands leading to an increase in
the epidemic rate.
Poverty is not the business of only the poor people, it doesn’t restrict itself to the born poor but it also spreads it ugly wings to the government, business owners and every member of the society.
Poverty cannot be eradicated completely at the snap of one’s fingers and of course it is not only present in Nigeria. However, necessary measures should be taken to control the poverty rate and reduce it to its barest minimum.
Women especially the uneducated ones should be enlightened about family planning. Parents should be enlightened on how important it is to educate their children. The youths should be
empowered so as to create job opportunities for themselves and for their peers. Also, the government should nurture ideas and create job opportunities for the youths. Alongside, individuals should make conscious efforts to assist those struggling to keep up around them and step by step, slowly and steadily with the cooperative efforts of everyone, poverty in the nation
would be brought down to its barest minimum.
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